Page 878


Goodspeed’s 1891 Biographical Memoirs


man at that time could draw or hold a congregation better than he.  Never, under any circumstances, could he be prevailed upon to take money for his preaching, his reply being, when money was tendered him "My Master, so far as I know, never received pay, and I His follower, am no better than He."

The old gentleman had several set sermons, the climax of each of which were familiar to many of his hearers.  Among these sermons were "The Jawbone" (from which he derived his nickname), dealing with Sampson and Philistines; "The Raven," wherein would be propounded the inquiry, "How did the ravens propagate after the old raven was sent from the ark and never returned?" After pausing for an answer, the reply came that "at that time the old hen was setting;" his "Jonah" sermon, wherein he related his trial ere he answered the call to the ministry.  In this he stated that he had a fall from a stick-and mud chimney he was building, and while lying stunned on the ground, he heard a voice saying : "Now, you old ----- you will preach my gospel, won't you?" In his "Red Sea" sermon he would reach the full pinnacle of his oratorical powers in these words": I am not much of a grammarmarian nor a geographarian, but I do know that the Red Sea did not friz over for the children of Israel to cross on."  Many other anecdotes are told of him.  His exit from the world was sad, he being hanged in Pope County, this State, by the Confederates, for his outspoken Union sentiments in 1860.

During these pioneer days, the county settled slowly.  Neighborhoods in various portions received new acquisitions from time to time, and gradually the ring of the woodman's ax became more frequent than the sharp report of the rifle.  The chase was sometimes abandoned for the more laborious task of guiding the plow.  The smoke from stick and mud chimneys soon curled upward.  On the bayou, attention was turned to the cultivation of cotton and corn.  Plantations were cleared, and at the time Ashley County was formed, November 30, 1848, there were nearly 2000 people within its borders.

In connection with early events in this locality it will be of interest to glance at the records of some pioneer marriages, the spelling, etc., being preserved:

The State of Arkansas/

County of Ashley

I, Nathaniel Denson a ordained Minister of the Gospel in the missionary baptist church do certify that I did Solemnize the rights of Matrimony according to the Rules of our church between Benjamin Irvin and Elizabeth Hawkins on the 28th day of February 1849 in the county of Ashley and State aforesaid Given under my hand this 14th day of April 1849.

Nathaniel Denson D.D.

Certified to G.W. Worthington, recorder


The State of Arkansas/

County of Ashley

I, Thos. L. Thompson an acting and duly commissioned Justice of the peace in and for the county aforesaid do hereby certify and make Known that on the Third day of February in the A.D. 1850 at the County aforesaid came before me Levi B. Stroop to me well known who is and then was a Resident of said County and then of the age of 32 years and Sarah Jane Stevens also to me well known who then was a resident of Ashley county and then of the age of 30 years and then the said Levi B. Stroop and Sarah Jane Stevens were then and there by me at their mutual request and desire Joined in the bonds of Matrimony.  And Levi B. Stroop then and there promising and agreeing to take Said Sarah Jane to wife and her as his husband to love cherish and protect until death should them part.  And she the Said Sarah Jane then and there promising to take the said Levi B. Stroop as her husband to honor love and obey until death should them part, they the said Levi B. Stroop and Sarah Jane then became and were by me then and there declared to be man and wife. 

In witness where I do set my hand as Such Justice this 7th day of February A.D. 1850


Thos. L. Thompson J.P.


Among other records were the following:

State of Arkansas/

Union County

To all persons to whom it May Concern.  These are to certify that the bearer Charles Welb Kinard was the call of Spring Hill and Liberty Churches of the Regular Baptist order Solemnly set apart this day by the imposition of honors and ordinance by act to the Gospell ministry and he is fully authorized to minister as an evangelist in the Vineyard of the Lord wherever Devine Providence may direct his course and to administer the special as well as the more common ordinances of the Gospel on every proper occasion and we do hereby recommend him to the affectionate Regard Confidence and Respect of all Christian people.  But more especially of those who pertain to the Baptist Denomination. Given under our hands this the first day of April A.D. 1849.


John Meek

Jesse Hartwell

George Perry


The clerk of Union County certified that the foregoing credentials were filed for record in his office on October 18. 1849.

Then, July 2, 1855, the credentials and a certified certificate from the clerk of Union County were filed and recorded in Ashley County.  This being the first record of the kind.

On page 83, Book A, Marriage Record, appears this original document:

State of Arkansas/

County of Ashley

I, Mark M. Flemming Judge, do hereby certify that I did join together in the bonds of Matrimony, at my residence in said county, Frances M. Shepard, a Resident of Ouchita Parish, L.A. 23 years of age to Miss Eliza M.